When social business doors swing open, expectations go up.
During the Social Media Insider Summit 2014 held at the South Seas Island Resort, I was reminded of a simple idea:
Come rain or shine, resort staff and facilities must deliver meaningful customer experiences in an environment of change and high expectations. Cloudy skies and rain are certainly not welcome at a seaside resort. But weather is not something anyone can control so you need to operate with agility and creativity.
Similarly in social organizations that continue to transform, many things are out of their control but having the right plan, operations, and data can help to ensure preferred customer experiences and brand success.
With the goal of creating meaningful experiences and ideal customers in an unpredictable world — and considering an event theme of “The Era of Data-Driven Social Media” — following are 8 takeaways from #MPSMIS:
1. The world, for better or worse, is becoming a short attention span society. Make all your engagements count but try getting creative in 6 seconds. Visa’s #GOINSIX campaign, presented by Matt Rednor of MRY, illustrated that short bursts of action-oriented content attracts and engages consumers. The Vine video platform was key to enabling a campaign strategy that moved people from passive to active. Create punchy, inspiring content to support this type of campaign.
2. Marketers are becoming more sophisticated with technology-oriented solutions but do they have the right analytics-to-action skills given all the data available to them? First, drop the term “Big Data” from your vernacular and don’t try to boil the ocean. Focus on a smaller set of data and key metrics, and get agreement across the social business on what success is for your audience and business stakeholders.
3. We hear a lot about real-time marketing and newsjacking. But maybe the lens should be “right-time marketing” to provide the right content, to the right person, and at the precise time they want it given where they are in the customer journey. Staffing and monitoring for real-time engagement can have a significant impact like the Oreo Cookie Super Bowl 2013 tweet from Matt Wurst’s 360i. But Drew Neisser of Renegade raised a good point when he asked “what’s the true value of real-time” and is it now business critical? It depends on your goals but responsiveness can provide a competitive advantage and help to create the next meme.
4. Don’t forget to dot the I's and cross the T’s with help from FTC experts. There are risks of customer alienation, monetary penalties, legal consequences, and brand equity erosion if your social business is not compliant with FTC rules and applying engagement etiquette. Vejay Lalla, attorney and partner at Davis & Gilbert LLP, says you can’t practice in social media without having some risks. Never ask people to post positive reviews of your product or service in exchange for payment.
5. Brands are now thinking more like publishers and your competitors are trying to out-publish you. It’s going to get increasingly difficult to be relevant and cut through all the clutter. Is native advertising an opportunity or quick sand for brands? Native is not as high of a risk on social channels but is more risky on traditional media channels given the “church and state” history in journalistic environments. Always disclose what is native and what is not to help preserve your positive brand reputation.
6. Every social business needs community managers. Put more trust in them and equip community managers with the right tools and support. They are on the front lines of your customer experience mission and have valuable insights about what’s working and what’s not.
7. Every social business needs specialists and intrapeneurs to help brands execute where there is complexity and innovate for tomorrow’s opportunities. Regardless of the digital channel, we’ve seen the same progression over time. According to Matthew Knell of About.com, generalization gives way to specialization. Social business and content marketing initiatives are now going through the same sort of specialization, and this requires adequate funding and staff.
8. Owned, earned, and paid media (OEP) is nothing new but how cross-functional teams integrate and optimize these media types is evolving in light of 21st century marketing channels and audience participation. Don’t make OEP about internal turf wars. Instead, it’s about leveraging a central content strategy with executive support and organizational alignment to leverage OEP within single channels and cross-channel. Read this “How to Build an Interactive Brand Ecosystem” blog post from Nate Elliott of Forrester Research, Inc. It’s a few years old but still relevant.
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